Officials in Washington state on
Tuesday announced that a referendum on a gay marriage law has
qualified for the ballot.
The secretary of state's office
announced that backers of Referendum 74 had submitted sufficient
valid signatures to qualify the question, the AP reported.
Preserve Marriage Washington turned in
247,331 voter signatures last week, more than twice the number
needed. Officials checked a random 3 percent sample of signatures
The marriage law, which was approve by
lawmakers at the urging of Governor Chris Gregoire, was set to take
effect on Thursday but it was put on hold when the group turned in
the signatures last Wednesday.
Opponents of the law said from the
start that they would work to defeat the measure, if approved by
Groups are preparing to battle on the
issue in 4 states this fall, including Minnesota and Maryland.
Voters in Maine will be asked to approve equal marriage rights for
gay and lesbian couples.
Various polls have found gay marriage
supporters slightly ahead in all four battleground states. Support –
in particular among African-American voters and Democrats – has
increased since President Barack Obama announced his support for such
unions last month.
A recent poll in Washington found that
54 percent of voters believe it should be legal for gay couples to
Uygur accuses gay marriage foe Joseph Backholm of hating gays.)